In no particular order.
My Bloody Valentine, mbv It’s like they never left. The first MBV album in 20 years is as good as the last one. And last third reaches new heights of noise, melody and rhythm.
Deerhunter, Monomania One of my favorite bands delivers yet another amazing record, blurring the lines between Deerhunter the band and Bradford Cox’s own Atlas Sound/bedroom recordings/whatever garage-pop-ness.
Haim, Days Are Gone At first I found this boring. Now I can’t stop listening to it. Tight playing, great songwriting with dashes of Michael Jackson, Joni Mitchell, Belinda Carlisle and so much more.
Reputante, Oceanside My brother releases another fine record.
The National, Trouble Will Find Me My favorite National record, which is saying a lot.
M.I.A., Matangi To the haters: It’s ok to write about a social trend (“Y.A.L.A”) a year after it happens.
Eleanor Friedberger, Personal Record She teamed up with John Wesley Harding to write the best songs of her career. Sounds great too.
Yo La Tengo, Fade Back to basics, with some gorgeous songs that I usually need to save for rainy days.
Luke Temple, Good Mood Fool Temple fronts the fantastic Here We Go Magic. Here he goes electro-funk, which is fine with me.
Rather than give entire albums honorable mention, I’ve highlighted single tracks from new albums. In all of these cases, I didn’t really listen to the entire record; I just obsessed over a single track.
Low, “Plastic Cup”
The Men, “Electric”
Kanye West, “Bound 2”
Justin Timberlake, “Pusher Love Girl”
Many more obsessions from before 2013, all of which kept me going throughout the year.
Broadcast, “America’s Boy”
Frank Ocean, “Pyramids”
Arlo Guthrie, “Valley to Pray”
Body Dylan, “Pretty Saro”
John Wesley Harding, “The Devil in Me”
Nick Lowe, “Cruel to Be Kind”
The Clientele, “Since K Got Over Me”
Here We Go Magic, “Fangela”
Medicine, “The Pink”
Twin Sister, “Bad Street”
Mobius Band, “A Hint of Blood”
Unwound, “Look a Ghost”